Asian Equities Mixed as China Data Stokes Uncertainty

Asian markets were lost for direction on Wednesday after a reading on Chinese growth held up better than many had feared, only for data on retail sales and industrial output to disappoint.  The mixed bag was mirrored in the market reaction with Chinese shares edging higher while commodity currencies such as the Australian dollar took a hit from signs of softer demand.

Shanghai stocks .SSEC wavered around flat before rising 0.25 percent, while the CSI300 index .CSI300 of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen added 0.3 percent.  Shanghai has been rising for six weeks straight as investors have chosen to focus on the prospect of extra policy stimulus.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was off 0.2 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei .N225 was all but flat.  The Australian dollar initially dipped a quarter of a U.S. cent to $0.7591 AUD=D4, but then quickly steadied.